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I'm using Windows 10 and today I accidentally hit the key combination: Ctrl+Shift+Win+B.

As a result, the screens went black for about a second and I heard a beep.

This is reproduceable; every time I hit the aforementioned key combination, the same behavior occurs.

Searching on the web I could find nothing about this except a reddit thread in which a user said he observed a similar behavior in Windows 8 by pressing Ctrl+Win+B (no Shift).

So, what is this key combination used for?

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3 Answers 3

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The Ctrl+Shift+Win+B key sequence will restart your graphics driver.

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    I think that's it. After seeing your answer I found this: betanews.com/2016/11/14/how-to-restart-graphics-driver which confirms it. Nov 14, 2016 at 12:54
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    If you have a Surface like I do, you probably also get to use this key combo every time you want to wake the machine from sleep... If you don't do this, the monitors refuse to come back on! Aug 28, 2017 at 18:30
  • @GolfWolf ah - it says the key combo only works on Win 10. I confirm that on Win7 Pro it doesn't do anything.
    – bgmCoder
    May 4, 2018 at 18:57
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    From a discussion with an AMD Radeon driver engineer, it does NOT restart the graphics driver. It does appear to discard the desktop surface buffer and re-create the allocation from DWM (on a healthy system the desktop goes black for a second).
    – Kevin
    Dec 5, 2019 at 1:31
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    Kevin's comment is correct. This key combo causes the Desktop Window Manager to recreate its graphics context and surface.
    – Polynomial
    Sep 9, 2021 at 22:56
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Official from Microsoft: "Windows logo key + Ctrl + Shift + B = Wake PC from blank or black screen"

From a discussion with an AMD Radeon driver engineer, it does NOT restart the graphics driver. It does appear to discard the desktop surface buffer and re-create the allocation from DWM (on a healthy system the desktop goes black for a second).

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    For what it's worth, Microsoft also recommends using it in this situation: when troubleshooting external monitor setup, when external monitor was working before but then suddenly stopped. support.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/…
    – RyanQuey
    Mar 31, 2021 at 2:05
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Have only found this one, please take a look:

Ctrl+Win+B -> Switch to the program that displayed a message in the notification area.

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    Yes, I ran into that while searching. I even use Win+B occasionally (although not with the CTRL version). However, if I add shift on top of that I get the totally weird behavior I described in the question. Sep 23, 2016 at 9:31
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    While not the best answer, spreading this handy tip is still useful. +1 Aug 9, 2019 at 2:24

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